Calgary Herald



The town of Cochrane, a growing community 30 minutes west of Calgary, has an undeniable charm and is attracting those looking for a slower, more connected way of life.

“As soon as you hit 12 Mile Coulee Road on your way from Calgary to Cochrane, it's like ahhhh, you can exhale. I love it out here and I don't miss Calgary at all,” says Sheena Wade, who moved from Calgary to Cochrane four years ago.

She says that despite the growth — Cochrane's population recently crested 35,000, up from just 11,173 in 2000 — this historic town still has that coveted small town feel.

“Everyone is so friendly; you still get that courtesy wave when you are driving and you can always expect lots of conversati­ons at the grocery store,” says Wade. “Plus, it's just so accessible to the mountains. I like to get out to Ghost Lake and go kayaking and camping — I bought a camper a few years ago and use it all of the time.”

She also utilizes the town's outdoor trail and pathway system, is a member of the Spray Lakes Recreation Centre and plays on two local community softball teams.

“Cochrane is just such a desirable place to live, and real estate is only going to go up.”

That's why she recently purchased a three-bedroom townhome at Vertos by Ocgrow Group of Companies in Cochrane's new riverside community of Greystone (developed by Burnswest), located just steps from the Bow River.

Vertos is a luxury collection of 150, one-level garden homes and two-storey townhomes, some with rooftop patios and single-car attached garages spread across 11 buildings.

“When you are presented with a really great opportunit­y, and you have no reason to say no, you just take it,” says Wade, who will be taking possession of her new home in 2025.

The sales manager for Vertos, Kristen Henderson, has been living in Cochrane for 10 years and agrees with Wade. She also moved from Calgary and hasn't looked back.

“It's just so safe here. You can walk your dog at night and not feel worried,” she says, adding Vertos has seen a real mix of buyers from singles to investors. “It's really all about community here in Greystone.”

In fact, she loves the project and the community so much that she's purchasing a townhome for herself.

Harish Consul, president and CEO of Ocgrow Group, notes that Cochrane is the fastest growing region in western Canada right now. “The town is a rare gem with a world-class quality of life. It really offers an amazing lifestyle for everyone.”

In addition to developing Vertos, Ocgrow Group is tapping into the strapped rental market (Cochrane is sitting at close to zero per cent vacancy rate) and launching Terez, an upscale purpose rental complex, later in 2024.

But Ocrow Group isn't just contributi­ng to the town's residentia­l offerings (it's the largest multi-family developer in Greystone); it's also the commercial and retail developer for Greystone and will be building more than 300,000 square feet of new commercial space and a High Street with plenty of boutique shops and great restaurant­s.

“There will be a wide range of new shops, restaurant­s and profession­al services, including several new trendy global retailers, which we will be announcing this summer,” says Consul.

However, it's not just Greystone that's turning heads; all of Cochrane is on fire with several communitie­s under developmen­t. Derk Patton, area sales manager for Douglas Homes in the Cochrane communitie­s of Greystone and Precedence which is on the south side of the river, says that Cochrane is becoming the new Canmore. “But much more affordable,” he adds, with a laugh.

Precedence is nestled into the riverside community of Riversong. These communitie­s offer easy access to the town's downtown core via the new $53 million Jack Tennant Bridge, which opened MID-COVID.

Rivercrest, also on the south side and developed by Qualico Communitie­s, is a boutique community of just over 94 acres (38 hectares) and 300 single-family and duplex homes. The community recently was awarded funding for a new kindergart­en to Grade 8 school site and opened a spate of show homes in the fall of 2023.

Farther east from Riversong, Precedence and Rivercrest, along the south side of the river, Qualico Communitie­s' newest community, Southbow Landing, is gearing up for its first phase of developmen­t. A 1.5-acre (.06-hectare) Central Park is under constructi­on and plans for a substantia­l and much-needed south side commercial developmen­t are also underway with announceme­nts coming soon.

Edmundo Azuaje, manager of marketing and communicat­ions for Calbridge Homes and Developmen­ts, concurs that the demand for Cochrane has been strong.

“The proximity to the mountain, parks and pathways, and the housing options keep driving people here,” he says.

Calbridge Developmen­ts' community of Fireside sits adjacent to Southbow Landing on the west side of Highway 22. The community's five-acre central park opened last fall and features a leisure rink, pump tracks and a tobogganin­g hill, playground, picnic area and firepits and the current show home parade opened last summer, so “it's still quite new and fresh.”

On the west and north side of town, 2.5 km from the downtown core, is the 250-acre community of Heartland, which has just gone through a rebrand with Rohit Communitie­s taking over the developmen­t reins from Apex.

New play areas, a landscaped storm pond, walking trails, a school site, and a new intersecti­on to access the community along the east side are in the works.

 ?? DON MOLYNEAUX ?? Harish Consul, president and CEO of Ocgrow Group, meets with buyer Sheena Wade in Ocgrow's Discovery Centre in the riverside community of Greystone in Cochrane.
DON MOLYNEAUX Harish Consul, president and CEO of Ocgrow Group, meets with buyer Sheena Wade in Ocgrow's Discovery Centre in the riverside community of Greystone in Cochrane.
 ?? LA VITA LAND ?? Many homebuyers are attracted to the small-town charm that still exists in Cochrane.
LA VITA LAND Many homebuyers are attracted to the small-town charm that still exists in Cochrane.

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